Stade Malherbe Caen (French pronunciation: [stɑd malˈɛrb kɑ̃]; commonly referred to as SM Caen or simply Caen) is a professional French football team, playing in the city of Caen, Normandie. The club was founded on 17 November 1913 following the merger of Club Malherbe Caennais and Club Sportif Caennais. The team takes its name from Lycée Malherbe, named after François de Malherbe (1555–1628), a poet, critic and translator, who was a native of Caen.
For the longest part of its history, SM Caen remained one of the leading amateur club in France, playing upon its foundation at Stade de Venoix. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the rise of Stade Malherbe in the French football hierarchy. In 1985, Stade Malherbe adopted professional status. Three seasons later, it was promoted for the first time to the first division. In 1992, several months after it was narrowly saved from bankruptcy, the club finished fifth in Division 1 and qualified for the UEFA Cup. In 1993, the club moved to the modern Stade Michel d'Ornano, but was relegated two years later. Despite a second division title won in 1996, SM Caen quickly fell back into the anonymity of the second division.
The late 2000s saw Stade Malherbe achieve some sporting success, which allowed it to play several seasons in Ligue 1 and reach the final of the Coupe de la Ligue in 2005. The club has been chaired by Jean-François Fortin since 2002. In the 2008–09 season, the team was once again relegated to Ligue 2 after losing 1–0 at home to Bordeaux, but were promoted back at the first attempt. In 2012, SM Caen were relegated for the third time in ten years, further to which manager Franck Dumas is replaced by his assistant Patrice Garande. The team made its return to Ligue 1 in 2014. The main rivalry is with Le Havre AC and is called "Lé Derby Nouormand" (Norman for "The Norman Derby".); another big rivalry is with RC Lens, which unfortunately has often seen clashes between fans and police involvement during the last decade.Close